Falling by a 75-39 final, Escalon’s JV boys basketball team had all it could handle and more when Modesto Christian came to town on Friday night.
“We went in with a game plan,” said head coach Nate Bartelink, explaining that the goal was to keep MC’s top shooters under control.
“One of their guys went off for 29 points,” Bartelink said of not being able to contain them.
“We all know they’re good and we had 28 turnovers, you have to play a near perfect game to beat MC,” Bartelink said.
The Crusaders rolled to a 16-8 lead in the first quarter and were up 31-15 at the half. They added to the lead with a 19-14 run in the third and put it out of reach with a 25-10 scoring advantage in the final frame.
As far as the game plan, Bartelink said part of it was also forcing MC to shoot from the outside, to not let them get in close to the basket. To that end, part of the plan worked.
“You make them shoot from the outside,” Bartelink said, “and they get 11 three’s.”
So the young Cougars did force the shots from outside, but MC managed to hit plenty from beyond the arc.
“Caleb Hansen led us with 13 points and eight rebounds, he has been our most consistent player,” Bartelink said. “Sam Lattig had seven points, Garrett Nebe five and a high point was Austin Murken, hitting a 3-pointer right at the end.”
As MC added to its lead in the fourth quarter, Bartelink started pulling starters to get the bench players some time on the court.
“It gets them some experience and hopefully we can translate that into positive results in the second half,” he said.
The team did stay upbeat despite the loss, the coach added, and are eager to get into the second round and improve on their 3-3 showing in the first half.
The team is now 11-11 overall.
“My goal is to be above .500,” Bartelink said of where he wants the team to finish.
They started with a home game against Ripon on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and will travel to Riverbank to face off with the Bruins on Friday night, Jan. 31.
The freshmen boys were winners over Modesto Christian, 54-37, with 13 points from Tommy Pangan, six from C.J. Gumbs and five from Eric Campbell.